Recapping ‘Mr. Selfridge’: Series 3, Episode 7

A rare moment of Harry Selfridge looking happy! (Photo: Courtesy of John Rogers/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
A rare moment of Harry Selfridge looking happy! (Photo: Courtesy of John Rogers/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
Previously on Mr. Selfridge: Vile Loxley manages to buy his way onto the Selfridges board, which means that he’s now in a prime position to make Harry’s life awful. Victor’s dumb club has reopened now that he’s put a gambling room in the back, but he ends with random people doing cocaine there and almost OD-ing because they’re friends with his shady new business associate Reegan. Miss Mardle tells Grove the truth about how his dead wife Doris accidentally had another man’s baby while he was away at war and Grove kicks the child out of his house to live with Miss Mardle, because he is the absolute worst. Oh and Rosalie leverages the news of her pregnancy to keep Harry from kicking her worthless husband out of the Selfridge house.

(If you need more, last week’s recap is right here.)

Selfridges Decides to Celebrate the End of the War. Apparently I have a very poor understanding of history, or how the passage of time works, because despite the war being over and everyone being home from it enough to loiter in the streets, create gangs and fight with each other, the Treaty of Versailles has only just been signed? I need to do some googling on historical dates or something, I guess. Anyway, Harry and Edwards are super psyched about the treaty signage and the whole official end of the war thing, and decide that Selfridges should do something special to mark the occasion. Frank, who has apparently just been hired as the store’s new Head of Press and Print, because Selfridges exists to give all of Harry’s friends jobs, whether they have any actual practicable skills or not. Whatever. Edwards comes up with the idea of a “Britain at Play” promotion to remind their countrymen that this is the first time in five years they can really relax, so they should probably buy some stuff to mark the occasion. This all ties in to Harry’s ridiculous plan to raise the shareholders’ return as he promised, by spending a huge sum of money and making the store a big spectacle again. Hooray.

This of course, puts the various departments at odds with each other – Cosmetics (Team Kitty) and Accessories (Grace Calthorp) seem to be having a strange competition to get Edwards to consider including various items from their departments. Grace in particular is all sorts of jealous and weird because Kitty’s married to Edwards and she feels like she’s being favored automatically, while dumb Gordon Selfridge is bending over backward to make sure Grace’s ideas also get consideration. This is so dumb – can’t they just have both portable cosmetics and sun hats in the display?? 

Miss Mardle, the Nanny. Or single mom, who knows? This is very unclear because while everyone seems to know that little Ernest is staying with Miss Mardle, they seem loathe to identify Grove as  the trash garbage person he clearly is. Anyway, the upshot of this arrangement is that amazing George Towler has something to do, since he’s got his days free now that he’s only working at Colleano’s Cess Pit of Drugs in the evenings, and is helping out as young Ernest’s nanny basically. He’s adorable with this kid, for real. Miss Mardle breaks the news to him about the fact that Ernest isn’t actually Grove’s son, and he handles it like a champ. Because George is awesome.

Meanwhile, Mr. Crabb, who is also the best thing ever, has brought Mr. Grove a big package of goodies for Ernest including a toy motorcycle and a supercute cardigan and hat set from Mrs. Crabb, who is apparently having some sort of knitting frenzy currently. He ends up giving all the stuff to Miss Mardle instead, because, as previously mentioned, Mr. Grove is a trash garbage person who can barely manage to talk about the child he’d considered his son up until like five minutes ago. Mr. Crabb seems disappointed in Grove's behavior, because Mr. Crabb is awesome.

Nancy Breaks Up with Harry. Sort of. After last week’s vomit-inducing midnight romp through the store, it seems like Nancy’s had some second thoughts about just how far she’s willing to string Harry along. She says that she’s going to be SUPER busy now that they’re about to get official funding from the Housing Department and she thinks that the two of them should “take a step back” from their relationship. This is sort of like a break up letter, I guess, but a weird break up letter, where one person says that they have to break up with the other because they’re too distracting and they like each other too much? It’s real weird and kind of gross, in the way that anything that implies Harry is a romantic person is gross, but he rolls with it, for now. In his new Professional Attitude he tells Nancy to go ahead and start hiring vendors for services and fronts her a thousand pounds to get started.

Harry ends up turning to his Awesome Mom for advice about the Nancy situation, and the amazing Lois does not disappoint. She informs Harry – after he tells her that he hasn’t met Nancy’s family or anything like that – that Nancy’s probably just being prudent. She thinks it’s great if Nancy wants to take her job seriously, that’s awesome, and Harry should respect it. She says the homeless veteran housing scheme will be finished soon enough and then they’ll have all the time in the world to get to know each other, so her son can just chill about it. Harry smiles at her but seems unconvinced, despite the fact that Lois is 100% right.  

Meanwhile, Back at the Worst Club on Earth. A bunch more of Reegan’s “friends” show up at Victor’s club to make use of the Super Secret Gambling Room and probably just do some more coke, IDK. Victor is convinced that he can keep things going smoothly despite last week’s drug incident. This idiot idea is quickly disproven when, about five minutes after they arrive Reegan’s loser friends cause a fistfight which manages to spill out of the Super Secret Gambling Room, down a ridiculously long hallway and up some stairs into the main dance floor area. Victor has to break it up and throws the guys out, declaring that it’s his club, he can do what he wants. These guys laugh and say it’s Reegan’s joint and Victor needs to remember that, before they shuffle out.

Victor laments his ignorance at assuming that he could keep his little jazz club and Reegan’s secret den of gambling inequity separate. Awesome Bartender Lady whose name I still don’t know informs Victor that he’s got to tell Reegan to get his people under control. Victor doesn’t look too impressed at the prospect of success there, but Awesome Bartender Lady tells him to man up and deal with things, because he’s been so busy swanning around with Violette Selfridge he hasn’t been running his own club. It’s pretty awesome (even if it’s obvious her interest is in part motivated by jealousy).

Anyway, she says she used to work casinos back in the day and says they could make a ton of money if they got the right people in the club – which is something Reegan can’t do, but Victor can. If he’s motivated enough. Apparently. (I’m not sure that I’m of the opinion that Victor can do anything, but since he’s a complete pod person this season I guess it’s all possible?)           

Miss Mardle Offers an Olive Branch. Since Grove’s returned to work at the store, Miss Mardle thinks its time the two of them talked about the Ernest situation, despite the fact that Grove has been ignoring her existence entirely since he kicked a small child out of his house, and is currently being really petty about the state of the Fashion Department.

She says she’s had Ernest for three weeks and he can’t possible stay with her forever; he’s only a year old. She says she understands that Grove is angry with her, but that the boy deserves better than this treatment (yeah, Josie!). She says if Grove is determined to ignore the child, then she’s going to have to seek out Billy and see what he wants to do, since he’s Ernest’s natural father. Grove gets all mad and says she must never say Billy’s name again in his presence, and then blames her for making his entire life a lie. Grove is a winner, y’all!!

Well That’s Awkward. Crabb catches Grace Calthorpe and Gordon Selfridge making out in one of the storage rooms. This is only awesome because Crabb’s expression upon walking in on them is amazing, otherwise it’s terrible because this “romance” between them is dullsville and now we’ll inevitably have to see more of it.  Yuck.

Crabb decides he needs to have a meeting with Gordon, to make this who situation even more awkward. He’s concerned about the Gordon/Grace situation, and wants to know if they’re romantically involved. Gordon tries to play it off and goes on about how he respects Grace and would never do anything to damage her reputation, but Crab just crushes this nonsense with a big pile of WISDOM. He says that Gordon is Mr. Selfridge’s son and, as such, will be able to choose from many paths in life, while Grace will be limited to only a few, if she’s lucky. He says Gordon has a responsibility to be the smart one here, and Gordon looks mulish.

George Towler Makes New Friends. Connie Hawkins, my new favorite secondary character, pops by Miss Mardle’s house to collect some fashion magazines to read. (She’s trying to learn more about the world of fashion and Miss Mardle’s helping her out. So I hope that means she’ll stop saying the word “couture” the way she does very soon.) Anyway, Miss Mardle’s not there, but Connie ends up having a flirty chat with George Towler, a twist that I definitely support if I can’t have my George/Kitty dreams come true. Let me have this show.

After Connie leaves, Billy the Babydaddy shows up to take Ernest out for an afternoon. He’s grateful to George for helping to take care of his son and he wants him to tell Miss Mardle that he’s working on getting a place of his own so he can take his son back for good. George doesn’t comment on any of this, just reminds him not to lose Ernest’s Yellow Rabbit, because George is perfect.

The Britain At Play Event Kicks Off. Harry and Edwards hold a special press preview to announce the upcoming Britain at Play spectacle. They show off some (horrible) clothes, tout special giveaways and announce their special new raffle to give away a special flight with some renowned aviator. Crabb is having heart palpitations because this is all so expensive, and Vile Loxley is already scheming about how to ruin everything.

The renowned aviator – whose name I can’t seem to catch but who is a BFF of Sergei’s if you need a yardstick by which to judge his worthiness as a human being – has something of a thing for Violette who is not interested, even after he manages to fake her winning the raffle to force her to hang with him. I mean, I can’t really blame her for not being into this guy at all – he’s pretty smarmy -but her insistence on moping about Victor makes no sense to me, since it seems that they weren't exactly focused on serious relationship things like "Having Conversations" or "Getting to Know One Another" but instead "Making Out in Various Places", I'm not sure how she can be this desperately in love. Girl, let your sister set you up with somebody. Maybe not this somebody, as he is gross, but someone

Victor Makes Poor Choices. Victor goes to see Reegan, because he’s lost his mind and decided that the way to save his jazz nightclub is to just stop it being a jazz nightclub at all. He says they should just make Colleano’s a straight up gambling club and be done with it. He wants to bring in baccarat tables and ditch the rough crowd that’s been getting in fights, make the whole thing very exclusive so they can attract rich high rollers.  He wants to turn it into a members-only establishment.

Reegan wants to know if this means Victor wants to borrow more money and he says yes, but it also means that he’ll get the chance to make more money in the end. Victor is super excited about this gambling club plan which makes no sense, yet again, but whatever, because who even recognizes the Victor character this season anyway? 

George Towler to the Rescue (Again). George stops by Selfridges looking for Grove, because he’s decided it’s time to have A Talk about Ernest. Before that happens he has an adorable scene with Kitty where she tells him Connie said she saw him, and that since she knows he doesn’t have a job maybe he should see about coming back to the store. (Foreshadowing? I hope so. I love George.)  Anyway, George corrals Grove and says he INSISTS that they have a talk about things.

They go to a diner together, where George proceeds to tell Grove about his horrible father: how he’d been terrified of him and how it had made him cling to Agnes as a result. He says that his father was maybe related to him, but he was no parent. He tells Grove that Ernest keeps asking for people – names he doesn’t know, that turn out to be his sisters. George says that it’s obvious Ernest is just looking for his family, and that’s clearly what he thinks Grove is, whether it’s biologically true or not. Go, George, go!

After his talking to, Grove decides that young Ernest is not to blame “for his mother’s sins” and that he wants to bring his family all home again together because they belong together. I guess this is a good thing because he can’t stay with George and Miss Mardle forever but the strange positioning of this decision that doesn’t require Mr. Grove to admit that maybe his reaction was wrong and ridiculous is frustrating. It’s also unclear how Billy the Babydaddy will factor into this decision, given that George has been letting him visit with Ernest possibly without anyone’s knowledge? (Does anyone know George was allowing Billy unsupervised playdates? Surely he's not just going to vanish into the distance now that Grove has decided to be a human being again?)

Kitty and Miss Mardle Have a Heart to Heart. Kitty catches Miss Mardle in the street after work to tell her thank you for the interest she’s taking in Connie. The conversation moves to Ernest staying with her, and Miss Mardle admits that George is doing most of the caretaking because she actually doesn’t seem to have much of a maternal instinct. She says that maybe work is all she’s really good at. Kitty insists that she’s wrong – she says that Miss Mardle has helped Connie so much, and all the other girls who’ve come through Selfridges. She says Josie has been the making of all of them.

It’s an amazing scene actually – possibly the best of the season – and it is one that does virtually nothing to advance any of the ongoing plot threads, it’s just based in characters and their history together. Which sort of highlights everything that’s been wrong with this season, because it sort of makes you wonder why every scene couldn’t have been as good as this.

Grace and Gordon Have Problems. Gordon fills Grace in on his chat with Mr. Crabb, but he basically glosses over everything with a whatever, we’ll do what we want, it’s not his business sort of attitude. So, yay, everything is fine.

Except everything is deeply not fine. One of Gordon’s random rich ladyfriends shows up at the store, and Grace overhears Princess Marie and Lois gossiping about her and how she could maybe be a suitable match for him. This upsets her and things are exacerbated when Gordon brings her over to Accessories to shop hats. Miss Polly falls in love with a hat, but treats Grace like she’s nonexistent and everything is super awkward. Especially when Grace ends up crying and Kitty has to swoop in and wrap the package for her.

A bit later, Gordon rushes back to apologize to Grace for his friend’s behavior. He says that Polly’s really nice when you get to know her, but Grace declares she’ll never have a chance to, since she’s unlikely to attend a regatta or a charity luncheon or have her over to her tiny bedsit ever. She insists that she and Gordon are never going to work because they come from two different worlds. He offers to tell his father about their relationship and take her home to meet his family, but she says they already know her, since she sells them hat. She insists things will never work between them and breaks things off. Gordon looks crushed, but I can't even pretend to be upset about this development, since every couple on this show seems to break up and get back together at least once, and also these two are like Human Sominex so I tend to zone out a little bit whenever they're on screen. 

Ugh, Harry Stop. After listening to Violette go on about how she’s not giving up on Victor just because her father doesn’t approve of them being together, Harry makes a decision. It’s not a decision to ground his daughter for life or anything like that, but rather to run straight to Nancy Webb’s to propose to her. Basically this happens because through the course of talking to Violette he’s realized how much Nancy truly means to him, and that he doesn’t consider her a fling or a mistress, no matter what his previous reputation was. Oh, and because Violette said: “When you love someone, you don’t just walk away.” Well, allrighty then. Nancy looks shocked, as anyone with sense would, but then she just says yes right away. Um. Ew?  They kiss and the episode ends. So…this is going to go real well when he finds out about her whole grifter past, yeah?

Thoughts? Hit the comments. Next week is the season finale so goodness only knows what we can expect. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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